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(NC) Buying your first house can be exciting and nerve-wracking, especially with so many factors to consider. Even now in this low-interest rate climate, going out and buying the first place you see is very tempting. But will you end up living beyond your means? What if interest rates go up? Are you really ready to make this huge financial commitment for the next 12 to 15 years, or longer? Before you sign the dotted line, the financial experts from Desjardins Group have some tips to help get you started.
 

A huge life decision
  • Purchasing a home is very attractive if you've grown weary of renting. But when you own property, there's more to worry about than just the mortgage. For example, there's property tax, utilities, maintenance and insurance. Sometimes buying a place isn't a good idea if you like to live independently with lots of traveling and entertainment. Maybe you're actually ready to settle down. If so, have you made a budget to see if you can manage your new home? Your financial advisor will likely suggest that you borrowing less to give yourself a financial buffer. Also make sure that you speak to your financial advisor about the relationship between interest rates and current economic conditions. Repaying a mortgage loan can take 25 years or more, which is a long time during which many things can happen. So it's important to understand these financial cycles and how they could affect your cash flow.

Securing a down payment for your mortgage
 

  • Experts advise that prospective home owners should have a down payment of up to 20 per cent of the house's value. One option is to borrow against your RRSP. The allowable amount is $25,000 per person or $50,000 per couple. If you haven't enough in your account, it's possible to take a top-up RRSP loan to reach the right amount. After the purchase, you'll have 15 years to repay the amount to your RRSP. Another option is to put down 10 per cent and to accept a higher mortgage loan insurance payment. Next question: is it better to choose a fixed or variable rate? A fixed interest rate offers stability and predictability, but you lose out on lower interest rates should they become available. The payments with variable interest rates also remain constant but there is the risk that interest rates may go up. This means more goes to your interest payment and less to your principal.

For more information about buying your first home, speak to your financial advisor. Or for immediate answers and mortgage calculators, visit Desjardins Group at www.desjardins.com/co-opme.

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